Written by: Meghan O’Dea
It might be surprising to those familiar with dementia and Alzheimer’s that music can have such a profound effect on those living with these conditions. After all, some of the hallmarks of various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, are less likely to tolerate distractions like background noise, crowded spaces, or other overstimulating environments. However, our brains process music differently than other types of sound, and music awakens connections to other parts of the brain in a way that, say, the chatter of a crowded restaurant or a garbage truck coming down the street would not.
Stanford researcher Daniel Abrams found that participants in a study who listened to the same symphony all had nearly identical responses. MRI scans showed that regions of the brain, dedicated to movement, planning, attention, and memory—the exact same parts of the brain that are most affected by dementia, were stimulated. Scientists have numerous theories about why we evolved to be hardwired for music in this way. Some think it is a result of language acquisition skills earlier in life. Others believe it is because of our innate ability to process history, thus retaining large amounts of crucial information. Another theory is derived from the way we socialize and communicate with one another. Whatever the reason might be, it is evident that music has had a profound effect on people for as long as we’ve been, well, human.
That opens a broad realm of possibilities for how music can be used to help seniors with dementia in effort to slow the rate of memory loss or ease the isolating symptoms of more advanced cases. From mnemonic devices that can be sung to help remember routines or daily processes to soothing melodies that can help calm a senior agitated by their inability to remember an almost-familiar face, there are all sorts of ways that music can be used therapeutically.
Music that inspires a great deal of emotion in the listener, positive or negative, has a proportional effect on the brain. The more a song affects the listener emotionally, the more his or her brain lights up in response. That means that hearing a favorite song can stimulate an otherwise withdrawn senior, help jumpstart a conversation, or match the mood enjoy on a good day. Similarly, mellow songs can be used to set the tone for bedtime or periods of rest.
You can enjoy music with your loved one by collecting some of their favorite songs, whether it’s Scott Joplin, Beethoven, Red Buttons, Frank Sinatra, or another artist. Perhaps your senior loved ones have some old records or CDs still that could provide clues as to what might create a positive response. Or you can try to chat with them about songs they enjoyed when they were younger. You might even ask family members or old friends about your loved one’s favorite tunes. When you play music, be sure you have good quality headphones or speaker setup, and if necessary, that it is compatible with hearing aids. You want to make sure the volume is comfortable, but loud enough to hear.
Listening to music together can be a great pastime that inspires conversation and helps you get to know your loved one on a whole new level. It can be such a joy to watch their faces light up and their bodies start to move to the beat. Be prepared to listen to stories that the song recalls or to thoughts and opinions about the artist. You never know what associations might be conjured up as neurons fire and the brain responds to each beat.
As with any other activity you undertake with loved ones with Alzheimer’s, be prepared to take a break if they become frustrated or overwhelmed. Going for a short walk or having a snack can be great way to hit the pause button. Also, make sure there is not any background noise or any other distraction that could make it hard for your loved one to focus on the activity at hand. If you need support in any aspect of senior caregiving with Alzheimer’s, contact the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s national toll-free helpline at 866.232.8484. From 9AM to 9PM, they have licensed social workers who can answer your questions. They are also available on Skype, live chat, and via email.
Written by: Meghan O'Dea
Did you realize that religious participation can offer higher levels of physical and mental prosperity in seniors, as opposed to non-religious seniors? Medical benefits have been linked to regular religious practices. Participation was correlated with:
Studies report that:
Religious seniors that attend religious services on a weekly basis, were described “very happy” at 45%, as compared to those who never attend at 28%.
Non-religious seniors reported to be “very unhappy” ranked at 4%, as compared to religious seniors at 2%.
Offering the feeling of self and social identity, 67% of seniors said that having religion in their lives offers more social fulfillment.
Out of the majority of seniors studied, statistics revealed that religion is the means of navigating through life’s difficulties, for example, the loss of a spouse or mobility.
The takeaway? These statistics that tie happiness and health to religion holds true. The correlation is clear, but the explanation of “why” for this relationship is less clear.
Regardless of the reason one thing is clear, we welcome all religious practice for the overall health of our community. This may incorporate nearby church organizations, neighborhood Catholic officials administering fellowship to parishioners, and honoring holy days, for example, Hanukkah for our Jewish occupants.
For many people, religion is not just a matter of spirituality but also a means of social connection. Many residents still attend church services or their pastor will make home-bound visits at communities to let seniors know they are still important to a church family, even if they are no longer able to make the service each week because of poor health or mobility issues.
In senior care facilities, meeting the needs of seniors comes with the job. However, at Maybelle Carter, we like to go above and beyond for our senior residents and staff, providing more than assisted or memory care. We can also guarantee the best religious and spiritual care through congregational services, worship, learning, and prayer. Living in senior retirement with neighbors that share the same or a similar religious belief can furthermore excel happiness, growth, and health. That is what we're about at Regency – giving the best opportunities and care to our senior community.
At Maybelle Carter, faith is commonly known as our cornerstone. Being a Christian organization, we urge the practice of religion, regardless of belief or culture. If you’re looking for a senior living community to meet your religious needs, take a visit through our facility and spend the day to get to know our staff and residents. Better yet get the full experience, and join in the fun at one of our activities or events. Call us to schedule your next visit us today. We are happy to welcome you and your family to our Maybelle Carter family!
Written by: Katie Hanley
Did you know that there are many different levels of Senior Care? In the event that you are thinking about senior care but do not know which option will be the best fit, there are multiple senior care choices accessible to you that differ greatly according to the level of self-reliance and senior satisfaction. At Maybelle Carter seniors are offered full continuum care, alongside similar aged peers. Listed below are the list of pros and cons for each.
Independent Living: this retirement way of life is perfect for individuals who are still dynamic and free, but also like to have someone cook and clean for them.
In-Home Care: this senior care, also known as “aging in place” is dependent upon the state of the senior, which includes standard checkups to ensure the health of the senior.
Assisted Living: this senior living alternative is perfect for seniors who find they require more hands-on assistance with daily tasks like showering, dressing and, administering pharmaceuticals.
Memory Care: this specified senior care program offers care to residents experiencing the onset of dementia or Alzheimer's.
For further counsel on selecting the appropriate senior care, consult with a specialist or primary care physician. Also, if you have questions regarding senior care arrangements, get in touch with us today to schedule a no obligation evaluation! We cheerfully welcome you, your friends, and family to join our Maybelle community today.
Written by: Katie Hanley
Everyone searches for the key to happiness throughout life, and everyone also seems to have differing opinions on what that key is. Is it family? A loving partnership or marriage? Wealth? Actually, it turns out that it is a combination of these – having a wealth of good relationships is the real key to living a long, happy life.
In 1938, Harvard University started a study, and began tracking 724 men. These men came from a variety of backgrounds ranging from college students to men living in some of Boston’s poorest neighborhoods. The researchers initially interviewed these men about their lives, medically examined their brains and did blood work, and continued this process every 2 years. The majority of the surviving men from the study are now in their 90s.
After 75 years of research, there are now some solid clues that can help piece the happiness puzzle together. Harvard Professor of Psychology, Robert Waldinger, is now the 4th director of the study and says that those who lead healthier lives also have strong social bonds which protect their mental and physical health over the long-term. In contrast, individuals with health problems have a higher probability of becoming isolated which can lead to unhappiness in old age.
This seems like a fairly simple concept…stay healthy and make friends. However, consider the various phases of life and making friends: when we are in school, there is a built in network of individuals to choose to build relationships with; when we enter the workforce, our careers provide opportunity to form even more relationships.
What happens when we retire though, and our colleagues/friends move on or become out of touch? Waldinger suggests that happiness is more likely for healthy seniors who make an effort to build new relationships after retirement. A person who is connected with friends, family and their community will tend to live a healthier, happier life than a person who is less connected.
The study also found that there were connections between mental unhappiness in younger years (caused by unhappy relationships) and physical pain in later years. For instance, some people reported that their physical pain at age 80 was magnified due to their emotional pain at age 50. This is why H. Jackson Brown Jr. said that who you marry determines, “90% of your happiness or misery.”
Even though romance may be hard to maintain in a relationship that lasts for generations, the study suggested that individuals who argued with their partner regularly had sharper memories. This was dependent upon the individual feeling that they could count on their partner in tough times, suggesting that secure relationships help strengthen the brain.
What role does an Assisted Living Community, like Maybelle Carter, play in this?
When a senior moves into this type of community, they are not isolated. The community fosters a healthy balance of freedom and privacy with an environment designed to help create and grow social connections. There are planned outings, games, meals, and a variety of great physical activities that are planned by staff in order to nurture the mental and physical health of residents.
Even though the prospect of moving to an Assisted Living Community can be scary at first, the majority of people feel like they belong with their new “family” within a few weeks of getting settled in. Some even discover that they are not as shy as they thought, and find a new freedom by spreading their social wings! These types of strong social bonds can play a very important role in long-term physical and mental health, according to research.
To learn more about Maybelle Carter, call us at (844) 602-2602.
Written by Kristen Camden
Saving money for retirement is an idea that has been drilled into the majority of Americans’ minds since the landscape of the workforce began to change in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Prior to this, many people worked for the same company for the majority of their career, which could be 30 years or more, and then received a retirement pension.
The “security” that came along with a specified pension began to fade when portable 401(k) plans started being offered by companies. These 401(k) plans do offer more flexibility for workers, as they can take their savings with them if they change jobs. However, not everyone takes advantage of these plans, and even when they do, it can be too late to save enough money in order to retire at the desired age, much less comfortably.
In the US, women have an average life expectancy of 81.2 years, and men average 76.4 years. As people live longer lives due to advancements in modern medicine, time can become a liability.
So, how are we expected to juggle the financial responsibilities such as home mortgages, bills, children & their education, etc. and save money at the same time? And how can those negatively affected by the housing crisis of 2008 and 2009 offset their losses?
Here are some tips from experts on how to stretch savings during retirement years, in order to afford to live in an Assisted Living community like Maybelle Carter, when and if the times comes:
• Cut Back Spending – While this concept seems simple enough, many find it difficult to adhere to when extra money is available. Discipline is required, along with willpower, to save money for retirement as opposed to spending it on unnecessary luxuries. By making small changes (e.g. eating meals at home instead of dining out), the benefit will outweigh the cost later in life.
• Focus on Debt Elimination – It is nearly impossible to focus on saving money when there is debt involved, and older Americans normally owe more in credit card debt than younger Americans. In order to have retirement savings, it is imperative to stay ahead of this type of debt, especially when interest rates add to the original balance. Be sure to focus on paying off the credit card with the highest interest rate first, or consider whether or not debt consolidation is the route to take.
• Live a Healthy & Active Life – Lifestyle choices can be a major factor that directly ties to medical expenses. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends exercise, a healthy diet, and regular checkups to have blood pressure and cholesterol checked, in order to reduce these expenses and avoid health issues that may arise from alternate lifestyle choices.
• Obtain Insurance – Unexpected medical costs can be associated with growing debt. Many times, health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid only cover medical expenses for a set period of time, so Long-Term Care Insurance may be needed. This is particularly important to consider, as an average of 70% of people past the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care during their lifetime.
• Work during Retirement – The number of individuals who work after “retirement” has grown, even in a challenging job market for this demographic. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, the typical head of a family household, who is fortunate enough to have a savings account, is between the ages of 55 and 64 and has an average of $104,000 saved.
In addition to these tips, experts also suggest: young adults should start 401(k) contributions as soon as possible in order to compound the interest; don’t rely on Social Security/Medicaid because the number of people working to support retirees will decline by 2050, according to US News & World Report; consult a financial advisor when planning retirement; save more than anticipated for retirement needs in case of job loss or unexpected medical issues; stay open minded and flexible when the time comes to address personal care finances – selling homes, obtaining reverse mortgages, and living with a companion are a few options for seniors to consider.
It is easy to pretend that the day will never come when retirement savings will be so important and necessary, but procrastination will not solve the problem. Spending less and saving more is the bottom line.
Nashville is a popular place to retire for many reasons, but particularly for the multitude of entertainment options – many of which are free, low cost, or offer senior discounts. Maybelle Carter complements this already amazing city through its dedication to provide residents with an array of activities, many of which are free as well.
To learn more about Maybelle Carter, call us at (844) 602-2602.
Written by Kristen Camden
There are many reasons that Nashville, TN is a popular city to visit, and also to live in. Labeled as the Music City, Nashville has always been a popular tourist destination, known for its country music and active night life.
What makes Nashville so appealing to retiring seniors who want to find new and interesting ways to spend their hard-earned time though? A few options to entertain and help fulfill any retiree’s day are:
For music lovers, there are a multitude of options as well, including:
Every month, there are also many opportunities to stay active and involved, right at Maybelle Carter. This month alone, the Adventure Club plans to “visit” Ireland and The Holy Land; there will be a St. Patrick’s Day Shindig; there will be an evening of music and singing with Kathy Johnson, and also a lunch outing to a local eatery!
According to TopRetirements.com, many seniors are choosing to retire in Nashville for a multitude of reasons. The region has low taxes, a mild climate, and an abundance of health care services, which is paramount for any senior making a decision on where to retire. In addition to the multitude of entertainment options, many are free, low cost, and even offer senior discounts so be sure to ask about them!
Maybelle Carter’s dedication to its residents’ wellbeing and happiness is the perfect complement to an already amazing city’s vast array of activities and fun. To learn more about what Maybelle Carter Senior Living and Retirement Community, call (844) 602-2602, or visit our community 208 West Due West Avenue, Madison, TN.
Offering a wealth of knowledge – but also potential new hazards – it can be hard to determine whether the Internet is a treasure or a Pandora’s box. There’s no going back to the world before the web, but Nashville seniors can use some savvy to utilize the best of cyberspace while insulating themselves from many of the risks.
At Maybelle Carter, we take residents on a virtual trip to faraway lands like our China voyage on January 8th. Even though the Internet is becoming something we take for granted, it’s still pretty extraordinary to think that having a real-time conversation with someone in China is just a few clicks away. Opening up a larger world poses opportunities and dangers in equal measure.
Today seniors are increasingly comfortable on the web, using it to:
Unfortunately, others may use the Internet to target older Americans via emails and websites. Below are some common sense rules from the real world that also apply in the online world…
If Something Seems Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is!
Scammers try to lure seniors into surrendering their personal information by claiming they’ve won a prize or gift, but not all that glitters is gold. Retirement savings make a tempting target for criminals who want to deceive us. If something feels suspicious, trust your gut and tread carefully, cybersecurity experts advise.
Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover
The Internet affords people the luxury of anonymity. Behind it, they may behave in ways they never would in the “real world” – pretending to be organizations we trust so they can try to trick us into telling them information they can use to steal our identities, money or credit. Be aware that most banks or companies will not ask for you to update your personal information from an email.
Look Before You Leap
Don’t open files attached to emails if they come from someone you don’t know. If you get an email from your bank or another seemingly reputable company, don’t click the direct link because it is easy to create a website that looks legit. Instead, go to your browser and type in the web address there. Don’t share personal information with a stranger such as a social security number or insurance policy numbers because anyone can pose as someone they’re not, possibly someone you’d normally trust. Once information goes online, it’s not always erasable, so be careful about what you share.
A Chain is As Strong as Its Weakest Link
Common sense precautions include using software protection against viruses, spyware, and malware. Avoid creating usernames or passwords that someone might be able to guess (or using the same username and password on multiple websites). Seniors who are comfortable online need to provide help to those who may be more easily tricked. Be sure someone isn’t looking over your shoulder in public when entering a password, and avoid connecting to public wireless, or WiFi, that does not require a password to connect to the signal. Update software whenever new security patches are released. If you aren’t sure about something, ask a trusted family member or a reputable computer retailer.
In the same way you keep your wallet or purse shielded from bad people in everyday life, you need to protect your information online. It is prudent to watch your bank or credit card statements for unusual transactions. If you sell or discard computers or mobile devices, be sure you wipe the hard drive to remove files and information stored on it.
There are many ways criminals can harm ordinary people, young and old, but with these common sense precautions and questioning things that appear suspicious, seniors can feel more comfortable enjoying the positive aspects of the Internet – seeing a new grandchild’s face on Skype or taking care of some business with a few clicks instead of getting out in the cold and risking a potential fall.
Written by Steven Stiefel
Communication is constantly changing, with new technologies springing up seemingly every other day. The ways we talk to each other aren’t the same as they were even 10 years ago. One thing hasn’t gone away, though. We are still fascinated by stories and storytellers!
Seniors might not realize it, but their lives have been full of great stories to share with their families and friends. They have decades worth of wisdom and insight stored up and ready to share, but they might not know how appreciated it can be. This is where writing comes in.
“The life review process helps a person find meaning, value, and fulfillment. It gives the person a sense of self-worth and of value to others.”
– Dr. Augustine DiGiovanna, Salisbury State University
Not only can writing one’s “memoirs” be a learning experience for younger generations, it can be beneficial for the writer. Reflecting on their lives and writing their stories can become a new hobby for seniors! It can help keep their minds and imaginations active, helping them to make sense of events long past. Additionally, the opportunity to discuss and share these memories helps foster a sense of community and can help keep them from feeling isolated.
This becomes increasingly important if the senior is living in an assisted living facility like Maybelle Carter. Writing it not only a pleasant pastime but it also gives them a tangible way of passing on memories to their families someday.
If you’re unsure where to start in the writing process, here are some tips:
If you have trouble writing or typing, using a video or voice recorder is a great way to preserve your stories! There are also groups in various places across the country who get together to write and share their stories on a regular basis.
Have fun sharing the story of you!
Eventually, Nashville seniors face the reality that the children have grown up and moved into homes of their own, leaving empty nests that may have more space than they need and requiring more home maintenance than they can keep up with as they age. At the same time, the prospect of moving elsewhere can be frightening because we associate a lot of good memories to our homes and resist change.
But Maybelle Carter Retirement Life Community makes change look downright amazing. There are a lot of perks to living here, especially the evaporation of worries about lawns to mow and boredom sitting alone in front of a television, having to plan and prepare a meal, then clean dishes, etc. In our golden years, this is the time to simply enjoy life and let someone take care of us for a change.
Some seniors worry that they’re going to spend this stage of their lives in a cold, crowded facility where they lack privacy and dignity, but these are fundamental needs we respect. A visit to Maybelle Carter, perhaps talking to residents about how they like living here, can change attitudes and dispel misconceptions very easily.
Residents can decorate their apartments with cherished possessions and do not have to get rid of their beloved pets to live at Maybelle Carter. These precious companions are welcome here.
Our spacious Independent Living apartments offer your own laundry room, full kitchen and large bathroom, individually controlled central heat and air, and a ceiling fan in the living room. It’s just like living in an apartment elsewhere, except that emergency assistance is available within moments 24 hours a day, plus there’s someone to cook and clean, opportunities to socialize and the security that comes from living in a community.
Our Assisted Living program offers a higher degree of help with services to assist with getting to and from the dining room, in or out of the shower or tub, helping to dress, helping with grooming or getting to or from the bathroom, plus medication reminders and other little things that are more easily accomplished with help.
Maybelle Carter ensures the safety of our residents with a fire system complete with smoke detectors and sprinklers, emergency personnel on duty 24/7, a resident sign-in and out system, doors secured at 9 pm each evening, and floor rounds several times each night. This is peace of mind that simply cannot be matched by a family caregiver, even if the senior is living within a shared space with their grown children. We pride ourselves on the safety of our facility and the compassion of our staff.
With our month-to-month lease, seniors and their families have the flexibility to change the arrangement if a resident decides that life in our community isn’t for them. We’re betting once they sample life here and make friends, they’ll really enjoy the quality of life that we can offer. Call (615) 868-2290 to schedule a tour and free consultation.